There has been a recent retail seafood trend to sell shellfish, such as mussels and clams, already cooked and packaged in plastic bags. I’m sure the extra shelf life of this packaged seafood is hugely convenient for retailers and exporters but for customers who enjoy cooking their own shellfish it is a real disappointment. I thought the whole point of going to a fishmonger was to buy fresh, unprocessed seafood but it is becoming increasingly difficult to buy a handful or two of clams or mussels. Luckily fresh Portarlington mussels are available from various farmers markets around Melbourne. Mike’s mussels are sold direct from the farm and loosely, so you can have as much or as little as you want. A quick rinse under the tap, tugging and removing the little beard as you go, only takes a few minutes of work and then they are ready for a hot pan with a splash of white wine. I love them simply cooked with white wine and herbs until they just open but every so often I like to make a more elaborate dish of saffron risotto using the mussel cooking liquid as stock which I filter and dilute with water to adjust for saltiness. These Portarlington mussels are sweet tasting and very tender which is only possible if you start with raw mussels.
Sat 17 October: Mike’s Mussels will be at Gasworks, Albert Park and Coburg Primary School and on Sunday 18 October at Alphington Food Hub.